The Plot is Murder & Cinnamon Toasted

I was going to buy The Plot is Murder, because the description sounded so intriguing, but my Library Extension let me know that my local library actually had 5 copies of it, so I was able to borrow one right away.  A shameless plug for the Library Extension for Chrome – I love it and use it all the time!

The Plot is Murder is the first in a new cozy mystery series with the theme of a mystery book shop, this is what pulled me into wanting to read it.  Well, that and the two poodles on the cover, I used to have a chocolate brown poodle many years ago.  The sleuth is Samantha Washington, a retiring teacher, recent widow, new mystery bookshop owner and aspiring mystery writer.  Just as everything seems to be coming together for her, a crooked realtor has the nerve to die on her doorstep.  Samantha doesn’t have to investigate on her own, she has her grandmother and a set of sleuthing seniors for support.

The story is interspersed with sections of the book that Samantha is writing and while sometimes I can find this device annoying, it does work well here, especially as it directly links into the murder Samantha is working.  The mystery was well paced and interesting with enough going on to keep the reader guessing.  There are  interesting dynamics among the characters. I am looking forward to reading the next in this series.

Cinnamon Toasted is book 3 in Gail Oust’s A Spice Shop Mystery  series.  In this installment, Piper Prescott, the sleuth, owner of the spice shop, ex-wife and a mother, is busy as ever.  Not only with her business to run, an Oktoberfest in town, her ex-MIL getting involved in a business opportunity, she now also has a dead man in Melly’s basement and it is not looking good for Melly.  Piper investigates, sticking her nose in where it doesn’t belong trying to clear Melly’s name and find the real killer.  Lots of red herrings and misdirection here, I am not sure that the reader could have determined the killer ahead, but maybe someone who pays better attention than me could have. 🙂

Overall, a solid installment in a cozy series with a theme I enjoy.  Certainly, helps to hold me over while I wait for Leslie Budewitz’s Chai Another Day, due out in June, from her Spice Shop Series.